I. Sanchez Diaz, D. Di Fuccia

University of Kassel (GERMANY)
Chemie im Kontext (ChiK) is a project that aims to improve the chemistry teaching in 8th -13th grades (12 to 17 year old pupils) in the German education system. It provides the teachers with guidance, suggestions and collections of material, that they can use to build their own teaching units. One of its main features is its flexible design, that allows the teachers to adapt it to their needs.

ChiK is a context based methodology. The use of contexts allows the students to see the relevance and applicability of what they learn, so the new acquired concepts can be related to their previous knowledge, ideas and interests. Here the contexts are not just a trick to bring the students attention into the lesson, or to see the application of what they have already seen, but the backbone of the lesson itself.

One particular feature of this methodology is that it uses a student centered approach. It focusses on promoting the students‘ self-concept and autonomy, and the structure of the teaching units enable the pupils to use a variety of activities (research, lab work, discussions, team work) to achieve this. The implementation of ChiK in Germany showed promising results, especially in the field of students‘ motivation.

In order to find out which aspects different everyday experiences pupils have when using ChiK, our department of Chemical Education, at the University of Kassel in Germany, conducts a research project in Spain and Argentina. Although we are in the early stages of the project in Argentina, and we do not have conclusive results yet for this land, we have been working with some Spanish teachers for the last two years, and we have the first empirical results of our research.

During the 2014-2015 school year, teachers from 4 schools in Madrid tested the ChiK methodology and some adapted material from the original German sources, for a 3-4 week period in their chemistry classes. In total, there were 10 classes (3th and 4th ESO in the Spanish school system) with 165 pupils involved. In order to measure the changes perceived when using this methodology, of both students and teachers, pre-test and post-test questionnaires, as well as personal interviews, were used.

These first results obtained in Spain are promising in terms of student motivation and changes in the way they usually work during their chemistry lessons. The teachers’ opinion on this methodology is also positive, and although there are some aspects that may hinder its use in a continuous way in Spain, they would use it for some particular teaching units during the course.

In our presentation we will explain which are the main features of the ChiK methodology, which results have we obtained in the first year of the project in Spain, as well as the possibilities for its further implementation.